Restoring Marikina River Back to its Pristine Self Is Tough, But Not Impossible
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By: Charles Adrian Cruz, PIO
With the revival of the Marikina River as one of its top priorities, the Marikina City Environment Management Office (CEMO) has lined up projects that promote the cleanliness and purity of wastewater coming from the residential and commercial areas of Marikina.
“Our target is to make the Marikina River a Class C river,” said Oliver Villamena, CEMO Administrative Officer IV.
A Class C river is a river that supports the propagation and growth of fish and other aquatic resources as well as allow and encourage recreational activities such as boating and fishing. It should be also free of domestic, industrial, and agricultural wastes that could alter the quality and temperature of the water, as per the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
“Common pollutants in the river are solid wastes coming from neighboring towns, domestic types of waste such as septic tank waste, and soil erosion from the mountainside, which affects the clarity of our river,” Villamena said.
To curb the rise in the number of pollutants found in the Marikina River, CEMO has instituted that all businesses and factories in Marikina should have wastewater treatment facilities. CEMO regularly monitors and inspects these facilities to make sure that their wastewater is clean before being disposed into the nearest drainage.
For private homes, their wastewater and sewage are directly treated by two large sewage treatment plants (STPs) located near the vicinity of the Marikina River.
Currently, there are two operational STPs in the city. These are the Marikina North STP, located in Brgy. Nangka, and the Olandes STP, located in Brgy. Industrial Valley Complex (IVC). A third one is being planned, and will be designated as the Marikina South STP, situated near the Kalumpang Gymnasium.
The STPs are huge factory-like facilities that weed out and filter wastewater and sewage effectively through combined mechanical and biological processes. The two STPs filter out 110 million liters of sewage and wastewater everyday before they are flushed to the Marikina River.
Healing the Water Faster
Moroever, free dislodging of septic tanks by the Manila Water every five years cuts the septic tank waste load, helping the river heal faster.
The City Government is also building a revetment wall along the river to prevent soil erosion, thus decreasing the suspended solids in the river.
Aside from these, the River Parks Authority and CEMO scoop up floating solid waste on the river daily to ensure that it remains clean.
Marikina CEMO is coordinating with the DENR’s Biodiversity Management Bureau to identify the original native species of fish that once lived in the river, and hopefully propagate them.
Ultimately, the best bet for the restoration and revival of the Marikina River lies with the people residing on its tributaries and vicinity. Sadly, some of these residents are not mindful of how they dispose their trash, which end up on the river most of the time.
“People from neighboring towns are throwing trash into their creeks, simply because they don’t like walking 100 meters from their homes to give it to the garbage trucks that are passing by,” Villamena lamented.
Reviving the Marikina River is tough, but through the efforts of the City Government and the people, there is no reason why it won’t go back to its old pristine, crystal clear self.
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